A Monday Series

The beach or the mountain was beautiful. It didn’t last long enough and you need a vacation from your vacation. It’s Monday and you’re trying to be raring to go.

There’s still a shine around the office from the day you got to Clear Out the Cobwebs; you looked hotter than the weather when you went to Get Your Picture Taken; you’re making plans to Have a New Logo Designed. These steps are making a visible difference, but you’re longing for a more personal connection to Maximum Customer Experience.

If you’re burnt-out, antsy, and need to revitalize your attitude as much as your business, this is the series for you. Experience Design for beach-dreaming business owners comes to your summer Mondays.

Summer Is a Great Time to Hire a Little (or Big) Assistant

Though I’d planned to write this post for a while, in Philadelphia’s Chinatown recently I began thinking seriously about the subject. Some cultures, and some professions, have a tradition of involving their children in the family business—so much so that reading an article like this might seem silly. If you were a farmer I wouldn’t need to mention the subject, but, dear reader, you are not.

Get your kids involved with your business—the earlier the better. Whether they’re toddlers, teens, or twentysomethings, there are benefits to taking them to work with you this summer. Give them firsthand knowledge of how your business works and you may plant the seeds of their own entrepreneurial Vision—or begin to form your exit strategy.

Will work for résumé

Adult children can get on-the-job training the same way any employee would. If you hope to groom them to take over your business one day be sure to have a frank discussion about this with them—no one wants to be told what their future holds without discussion. If the plan is near-term, you may need to discuss this with key staff, too.

What’s great about having your older child learn the ropes of your business, getting their hands dirty in every corner of the company? You can ask them for feedback and know you’ll get it in your kid’s own, very honest way. Want to know how to improve your processes? Let that bright college freshman work with your shipping department. You’ll get an earful.

Will work for cold, hard cash and car keys

If your teen needs a little extra cash to buy the cutest bikini she saw the other day, start small. Make it an opportunity to spend time together, and also give her some space to discover the ins and outs of what you do on her own. Nobody questions the status quo like a teenager. Trust what you hear.

Let your teen learn along with you—being open about the challenges you face as well as your successes provides important lessons in Mom or Dad’s fallible humanity, as well as offering an opportunity to put that creative mind to work with some real-life problem solving.

Will work for hugs

What about your younger children? Sure, you can take them along for the day to help with filing, mailings, packing orders. The littlest assistants will learn by doing, and they’ll love that very grownup time with you.

To see them shine, let them sell. These are the best darned marketers on the planet. Didn’t you just take the little darling for ice cream last week even though you were exhausted and it was past bedtime for at least one of you? And how about that stuffed toy that just had to come home with you, to join the other thirty in the bed?

Younger children are both curious about and proud of what their parents do. They probably have a limited understanding of your work, so hiring them for a portion of the summer will expose them to the ins and outs of your business. They’ve got no fear of failing in this situation, and they’re very persuasive. Let them go with the customer, whether it’s selling a muffin or a refrigerator. Tell your precocious dear (a little bit about) what you’re hoping for in the encounter, and you may find a laughing client, ready to sign on the dotted line!

& you get to embarrass them for free!

Don’t be afraid to introduce your newest staff member to customers with a gleam in your eye. No matter their age, your children will always be proud to be singled out by you—and your customers will have one more reason to be a fan of your company.

When your children learn more about how you follow your dreams every day, you become more than the person who helps put food on the table. You become an inspiration and a guide to pursuing their own Vision. Show your kids how to enjoy the hard work behind the Big Dreams this summer.

Don’t just nod and think about this one—make it happen, whether you work from home, shop, or office. Summer’s slipping past. Create this experience, for both of you to carry into the fall. What special talents can your summer hire bring to the job?


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


P.S. My little person, who gets involved in Mama’s business and her grandparents’ business whenever possible, is the real inspiration for this post. And she knows it. 🙂